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Martin Freeman: Making ‘Sherlock’ Is ‘Not Fun Anymore’ Because Fan Expectations Are Too High

Freeman has played Sherlock's best friend John Watson on four seasons of the fan favorite BBC series.


BBC’s “Sherlock” has been off the air for over a year after airing its three-episode Series 4 in January 2017, but the wait for new episodes could be even longer than anticipated. Martin Freeman, who plays John Watson opposite Benedict Cumberbatch’s titular detective, said in a new interview with The Telegraph that “Sherlock” is over for the time being, partly because of the poor response to Series 4 and partly due to fan expectations.

“I think after series four [it] felt like a pause,” Freeman said, “I think we felt we’d done it for a bit now. And part of it, speaking for myself is [due to] the reception of it.”

The Telegraph asked Freeman if there were any talks taking place about a fifth season of the show, to which the actor said “not massively.” Series 4 received the show’s worst reviews from fans and critics, and yet most “Sherlock” episodes were still ratings juggernauts and favorably received. IndieWire’s Kaite Welsh called the season problematic.

Freeman said expectations from fans have gotten out of control, which is part of the reason a long break may be in order.

“To be absolutely honest, it [was] kind of impossible,” Freeman said of living up to fan pressure “‘Sherlock’ became the animal that it became immediately. Whereas even with [the U.K. version of] ‘The Office’ it was a slow burn. But ‘Sherlock’ was frankly notably high quality from the outset. And when you start [that high] it’s pretty hard to maintain that.

“Being in that show, it is a mini-Beatles thing,” he continued. “People’s expectations, some of it’s not fun anymore. It’s not a thing to be enjoyed, it’s a thing of: ‘You better f—ing do this, otherwise, you’re a c—.’ That’s not fun anymore.”

BBC has not announced any plans for the show’s Series 5 return. Freeman can currently be seen on the big screen in the Marvel tentpole “Black Panther.”

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